Kintsugi is the Japanese art of mending broken pottery with gold. I believe the same thing happens with our scars, whether physical or emotional. Once they heal, they become these beautiful imperfections that are a constant reminder of how strong we are.
Some years ago, I was wearing my favorite go-to outfit. I felt sexy, fearless and beautiful. We arranged to have dinner and met at a mall parking lot, it was a nice fall evening. As I got out of my car to greet him, I could feel the crisp air touching my face. I could smellhis cologne impregnated in my clothes as he hugged me hello.
After a delicious colorful dinner, we decided to head over to the arcade that was near the restaurant. I had indulged on a couple of alcoholic beverages. This is when my memories start getting cloudy. I remember him handing me more drinks regardless of my answers. All he could say was “You’ll be fine.”
When we decided to head out, the earlier breeze became a cold dark night. The moment the cold air hit my face I realized I was far away from home and with a man I had only met once. But, He… was… safe… I thought, he knows my friends and.... At that moment when the night welcomed my presence I started blaming myself for what was happening. After all, I got drunk, I agreed to meet him, I made that choice.
I asked him to drop me off at my car so I could sleep there for a couple of hours until I was sober enough to drive. He declined. I asked where he was headed and he again said “You’ll be fine.” I remember arriving at the lonely hotel, walking into the lobby. I was tired, disoriented and all I wanted was to go to sleep, get sober and go home. The elevator doors opened and I quietly walked into to the room I don’t want to be here I thought. He immediately headed to the bed where he proceeded to remove his clothes. I… I just want to sleep. I can sleep on the couch, I said. “Oh come on, you’ll be fine, just lay here.” Full of fear, I headed to the end of the bed where I sat. He tried to kiss me and take my clothes off. I don’t want to do anything, I just want to sleep please! Please no! Please stop! The words that came out of my mouth did not matter. All I could hear was “You’ll be fine.” I am not fine! Eventually, I became exhausted of fighting, of begging him to stop. I consented. But did I really?
The next morning he dropped me off at my car, I was numb, dirty and I felt like a part of my soul had been taken from me. Time froze while I was in my car, finally I drove to the nearest gym. I showered and showered again. The first thing I wanted to do was to remove all of him, I wanted to soak under the water until everything was gone, removed and vanished from my memory. I didn’t know what happened. Months of my life were invisible until I began healing my scars.
It took months and therapy to get over. Did I report it you ask? No I did not. It took a long time for me to realize I was not at fault. I even doubted what happened because my friends didn’t believe me. They knew him, they didn’t think he was capable of such thing. It hurt that they couldn’t see what had happened. It took a long time for me to realize that because someone made me have sex with him doesn’t make me a slut or a whore or a woman who asked for it. After all, who defines those words?
I have been raped and that doesn’t make me less of a woman. My invisible scars are a symbol of strength. It doesn’t matter what I was wearing, what I said or even the fact that I was drunk. NO is NO. It is that simple.
Thank you to all the women who dare to defy the expectation. Thank you to the strong ones that fought for the rights we have now and thank you to the ones that are leaving a legacy behind of stronger men and women.
To him I want to tell him Thank You. For allowing me to see my own strength, to open my eyes, to leave that window open in my soul that allowed me to dig deep and get ahold of the strong woman behind it. Thanks to this trauma, I am now able to really love myself, I know that if I don’t stand up for what I want, nobody else will. I can firmly now say no. I can strongly share my opinion and truly believe that it matters.
My scar just like any other scar, it is not perfect, it is not smooth and sometimes light leaks in, or out and that is perfectly fine. Just like Kintsugi, life could become better after we learn to appreciate the flaws and embrace the imperfections.
To every woman, no matter how many words society throws at you, no matter how many invisible scars you carry, you are strong. Remember your scars let light shine in and out. Reach in, find that strong woman. Keep going, do it for yourself, do it for the other women fighting. Mend those scars with beautiful gold and keep shining.